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Pregnant? 5 expert ways to boost your bond with your husband

As we prepare for an event like birth that is unique, instinctual and altogether unpredictable, how can we maintain our relationship with ourselves and our partner?


This is a question Kimberly Johnson, founder of MAGAMAMA, wants every expecting mom to consider. MAGAMAMA is an online community and resource hub for new moms who want natural, empowering solutions to the physical pain and emotional madness that can accompany childbirth.

Truth is, nothing can truly prepare you for what will be one of the most momentous and memorable experiences of your life. However, all birth educators agree that women birth better when they feel relaxed and safe.

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Which begs the question, how can you foster that safe feeling in your relationship before the big day comes?

That safe feeling is determined by our outer surroundings, care providers, partners, and our connection to our own inner strength.

Here are five ways to boost your bond with your partner and foster your own confidence:

1. Push your edges by doing things that scare you.

Kimberly Johnson: Obviously there’s a lot you can’t do while pregnant, like rollercoasters and tasting the ever risky grilled blowfish. How about trying new things together as a couple?

For example, improv classes, traveling to new locations, cooking new foods, and really communicating to each other your struggles as you tackle new experiences.

Aim for some variation in your intimate moments—leave the lights on, or turn them off. Try to book a hotel for the night. Remember, once baby comes, you might not get an adults-only getaway for a while.

2. Find your voice.

Kimberly Johnson: If you’ve had trouble communicating with your partner in the past, try to work on that now. Having a baby is life-changing, and working on finding the language to relate to one another now, before baby comes, will help you bring that into postpartum life too.

The more comfortable you can be stating how you are feeling, without blaming or assuming how your partner feels, the more likely that you will be met with open-hearted curiosity that will lead to satisfying connections.

3. State your desires, and ask your partner about theirs.

Kimberly Johnson: Sushi? Pizza? Can't decide. Thai food. Now is the time to work on stating your preferences without trying to figure out what would be best for your partner, or anticipating what they might want.

The next time “What's for dinner?” becomes five minutes of back-and-forth, pause, check in, and find your preference.

What would you choose if you were by yourself?

Then say, "I'd like _____!" If your partner wants sushi, try to find a third option instead of compromising on your desires, “How about Thai food?”

See if you can find a win-win.

4. Find the inner "yes" and "no" in your body.

Kimberly Johnson: The next time someone asks you a question, and the answer is a resounding, "Yes!!" —notice how you feel in your body.

When I feel a 100 percent green light, my skin feels tingly, my heart races a bit, and my chest expands. How about you?

Then notice what happens when you feel a strong "No!" My jaw tenses, my muscles tighten and my brow furrows. What do you notice?

Most of us are either "yes" or "no" people, one being more habitual than the other. Sometimes if we listen to our body, we can develop a clearer sense of what we want. Without getting your overactive brain involved, as it does with indecision or fatigue, notice how your body is responding, and use your body as the gauge for your answer.

5. Breathe alone and breathe together.

Kimberly Johnson: All of us hold our breath sometimes or forget about our breath completely. Just noticing your breath is already a shift back into the present moment and your physical experience.

It's also fun and connecting to sync up your breathing with your partner.

See if you can sync up without talking, just by watching and feeling one another's movement. You can try it while facing each other, while sitting side by side, and while sitting back to back. Each will be a different experience and will prepare you for attuning during labor, and after.

Kimberly is chalk full of great anecdotes and advice. Here are a few more questions we wanted to ask her:

How do you make your mornings run smoothly?

Kimberly Johnson: I would like to say I make lunches the night before, that we both lay out our clothes the night before, or that I have a meal plan calendar. None of those things happen, ever.

The main ingredient of a smooth morning for me is having gotten enough sleep the night before. That way I have levity to deal with whatever mood my daughter wakes up in, and whatever other unpredictables arise.

What is the life hack or tip that has changed your life?

Kimberly Johnson: Somatic Experiencing Trauma Resolution Therapy is my life hack.

It’s like an experience of being deeply human and coming home to myself in my body. A less extensive one is leave my phone in the other room or out of my sight if I want to have a meaningful interaction (which I most often do) or if I want to get anything done.

What superpower have you discovered as a mom?

Kimberly Johnson: My superpower is improvisation. I have become a master of the “roll with it” attitude. Very little has gone as I thought it would or at all similar to how I was raised, so I have learned to let go of ideals, and go with options that work.

This quote inspires me...

A mother’s body against a child’s body make a place. It says you are here. Without this body there is no place.
— Eve Ensler, from In the Body of the World

To me, "motherly" means…

Kimberly Johnson: It means summoning the deepest of powers, that often get awakened through a descent, to hold onto ourselves as women, as we parent children. It requires real magic to hold all the spaces of mother, woman, daughter, lover, and creator.


Kimberly Johnson is the author of the upcoming book, The Fourth Trimester: A Postpartum Guide to Healing Your Body, Balancing Your Emotions, and Restoring Your Vitality, where she goes in-depth into how to safeguard and baby proof your marriage as well as how to get intimacy back if it feels lost.

By its very nature, motherhood requires some lifestyle adjustments: Instead of staying up late with friends, you get up early for snuggles with your baby. Instead of spontaneous date nights with your honey, you take afternoon family strolls with your little love. Instead of running out of the house with just your keys and phone, you only leave with a fully loaded diaper bag.

For breastfeeding or pumping mamas, there is an additional layer of consideration around when, how and how much your baby will eat. Thankfully, when it comes to effective solutions for nursing or bottle-feeding your baby, Dr. Brown's puts the considerations of mamas and their babies first with products that help with every step of the process—from comfortably adjusting to nursing your newborn to introducing a bottle to efficiently pumping.

With countless hours spent breastfeeding, pumping and bottle-feeding, the editors at Motherly know the secret to success is having dependable supplies that can help you feed your baby in a way that matches lifestyle.

Here are 9 breastfeeding and pumping products to help you no matter what the day holds.

Customflow™ Double Electric Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's electric pump

For efficient, productive pumping sessions, a double electric breast pump will help you get the job done as quickly as possible. Quiet for nighttime pumping sessions and compact for bringing along to work, this double pump puts you in control with fully adjustable settings.

$159.99

Hands-Free Pumping Bra

Dr. Brown''s hands free pumping bra

Especially in the early days, feeding your baby can feel like a pretty consuming task. A hands-free pumping bra will help you reclaim some of your precious time while pumping—and all mamas will know just how valuable more time can be!

$29.99

Manual Breast Pump with SoftShape™ Silicone Shield

Dr. Brown's manual breast pump

If you live a life that sometimes takes you away from electrical outlets (that's most of us!), then you'll absolutely want a manual breast pump in your arsenal. With two pumping modes to promote efficient milk expression and a comfort-fitted shield, a manual pump is simply the most convenient pump to take along and use. Although it may not get as much glory as an electric pump, we really appreciate how quick and easy this manual pump is to use—and how liberating it is not to stress about finding a power supply.

$29.99

Nipple Shields and Sterilization Case

Dr. Brown's nipple shields

There is a bit of a learning curve to breastfeeding—for both mamas and babies. Thankfully, even if there are some physical challenges (like inverted nipples or a baby's tongue tie) or nursing doesn't click right away, silicone nipple shields can be a huge help. With a convenient carry case that can be sterilized in the microwave, you don't have to worry about germs or bacteria either. 🙌

$9.99

Silicone One-Piece Breast Pump

Dr. Brown's silicone pump

When you are feeding your baby on one breast, the other can still experience milk letdown—which means it's a golden opportunity to save some additional milk. With a silent, hands-free silicone pump, you can easily collect milk while nursing.

$14.99

Breast to Bottle Pump & Store Feeding Set

After a lifetime of nursing from the breast, introducing a bottle can be a bit of a strange experience for babies. Dr. Brown's Options+™ and slow flow bottle nipples were designed with this in mind to make the introduction to bottles smooth and pleasant for parents and babies. As a set that seamlessly works together from pumping to storing milk to bottle feeding, you don't have to stress about having everything you need to keep your baby fed and happy either.

$24.99

Washable Breast Pads

washable breast pads

Mamas' bodies are amazingly made to help breast milk flow when it's in demand—but occasionally also at other times. Especially as your supply is establishing or your breasts are fuller as the length between feeding sessions increase, it's helpful to use washable nursing pads to prevent breast milk from leaking through your bra.

$8.99

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Dr. Brown's milk storage bags

The essential for mamas who do any pumping, breast milk storage bags allow you to easily and safely seal expressed milk in the refrigerator or freezer. Dr. Brown's™ Breast Milk Storage Bags take it even further with extra thick walls that block out scents from other food items and feature an ultra secure lock to prevent leaking.

$7.99


Watch one mama's review of the new Dr. Brown's breastfeeding line here:

This article was sponsored by Dr. Brown's. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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14 Toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

With Labor day weekend in the rearview and back-to-school in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in summer-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

Meadow ring toss game

Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

$30

Balance board

Plan Toys balance board

Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

$75

Detective set

Plan Toys detective setDetective Set

This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

$40

Wooden doll stroller

Janod wooden doll strollerWooden Doll Stroller

Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

$120

Sand play set

Plan Toys sand set

Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

$30

Water play set

Plan Toys water play set

Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

$100

Mini golf set

Plan Toys mini golf set

Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

$40

Vintage scooter balance bike

Janod retro scooter balance bike

Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

$121

Wooden rocking pegasus

plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

$100

Croquet set

Plan Toys croquet set

The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

$45

Wooden digital camera

fathers factory wooden digital camera

Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

$179

Wooden bulldozer toy

plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

$100

Pull-along hippo

janod toys pull along hippo toy

There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

$33

Baby forest fox ride-on

janod toys baby fox ride on

Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

$88

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Chrissy Teigen/Instagram

When Chrissy Teigen announced her third pregnancy earlier this year we were so happy for her and now our hearts are with her as she is going through a pain that is unimaginable for many, but one that so many other mothers know.

Halfway through a high-risk pregnancy complicated by placenta issues, Teigen announced late Wednesday that she has suffered a pregnancy loss.

Our deepest condolences go out to Chrissy and her husband, John Legend (who has been by her side in the hospital for several days now).

In a social media post, Teigen explained she named this baby Jack.

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"We are shocked and in the kind of deep pain you only hear about, the kind of pain we've never felt before. We were never able to stop the bleeding and give our baby the fluids he needed, despite bags and bags of blood transfusions. It just wasn't enough," she wrote.

She continued: "We never decide on our babies' names until the last possible moment after they're born, just before we leave the hospital. But we, for some reason, had started to call this little guy in my belly Jack. So he will always be Jack to us. Jack worked so hard to be a part of our little family, and he will be, forever."

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